Welcome my guest poster – my own beloved, Richard Miles. Keeping to the AtoZ theme (yes, it’s still going 🙂 ) he’s is going to fill you in some more on our new adventure 🙂
U is for Unbelievable!
I am using the word ‘unbelievable’ in the sense of being above, or beyond belief, rather than against belief.
Paul in Ephesians writes:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20-21
These words sum up the sense that I have as I write this blog post. Over the past 12 months, no, over the past 18 months, actually, over the past 8 years, although it’s really over the past 17 years… God has done immeasurably more for us than we could ask or imagine.
It was during the Summer of 2008 that the Lord began to call me to ministry, and I spent the next three years at the Irish Bible Institute in Dublin, training to serve him. At the time, I believed that he would lead me into work in Ireland, as that is where I was when he called me and I went to an Irish Bible College!
It was a real privilege to have the opportunity to preach many times during our 7 years in Ireland. But, that was not the place where God was calling us.
After Annmarie was made redundant, our circumstances became more of a challenge. Nothing seemed to be working out, and one by one, doors began to close in Ireland. We knew that our long term future wasn’t there. Then in August 2014, it became clear to us that we should move back to Newport, my home city. It was the easiest decision we’d ever made; with an almost tangible assurance that it was the right thing to do.
We moved mid December. We knew that the Lord was bringing us back for a purpose. I was still convinced that he wanted me to go into ministry, so decided to look for opportunities to preach. I had the full backing of my home church, Malpas Road Evangelical Church, which is where I was born and grew up. My intention was that I would take as many opportunities as came to me, to preach in other churches when needed. Maybe one of them would be looking for a Pastor, and decide to call me.
As it turned out, I didn’t get to preach at many churches at all. I visited two churches, both in the Pontypool area. One of them was Upper Trosnant Baptist Church.
From our very first visit, we felt the warmth of the welcome and fellowship there. I preached on a number of occasions over the next few month; I knew that God was with me as I shared his Word.
However, when Richard Harrison, one of the church elders, phoned me to ask if I would allow my name go forward to be considered as Pastor of the church, it was a complete surprise. Although… I knew it was right.
It was something I had been praying for. I believed this was the opportunity. After lots of prayer and discussion with Annmare, and some very positive meetings with the leadership of the church, the recommendation went to the church that I should be appointed Pastor.
The next few months seemed to be very long, as I waited for the church to make their decision. There was lots of ‘if and when’ talk, but we had to wait. It was a great exercise in patience for us both.
When the church came to make their decision it was a unanimous one, that I should be called to be Pastor.
It is just so amazing the way everything came together. My prayers were answered, God showed his purpose for us to be back in Wales and it’s an extra blessing that we have the opportunity to serve the Lord not too far away from our family and our Malpas Road family!
It’s wonderful to know that the prayers of the church were answered as well; and amazing to think that Annmarie and I would be the answer to anyone’s prayers.
Even the practical issues around the move seemed to just sort themselves out. The flat above the church had long-term tenants, who recently decided to move on. Annmarie’s full time job in Cardiff took up most of her time and energy and she was concerned that she would not have much time during the week to be involved in church life. She applied for a part-time job, local to the church, and got it. Just like that!
God really has done far more than we can ask or imagine. U is indeed for unbelievable. We’ve also thought of words recently like ‘undeserving’, ‘unprepared’, ‘unreal’, ‘uttermost’ and of course, our new home… Upper Trosnant.
We continue to look to God to do unbelievable things as we seek to serve Him, our new family and our new community.